Record amount raised for Children’s

Barbara Black

CASA Cares raised a record $13,000 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation at their fifth annual fashion show/fundraiser on March 15 where there was some standout dancing.

kate hutchinson

The models looked wonderful, with just the right mixture of aloofness and allure. The dancers were delightful, the clothes were fabulous, and the organization superb.

CASA Cares, the outreach arm of Concordia’s business students’ association, raised a record $13,000 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation on March 15 with its fifth, bigger-than-ever fashion show, Muse, at SAT, the Society for Arts and Technology, on St. Laurent Blvd. There were actually two shows that evening, and the second one was sold out.

Every year, the show has a theme, and this time it was the inspiration of art. The mood was created with lavish costumes from the Marie Antoinette era, and each set took its mood from a well-known artist.

More Montreal designers were featured than ever this year, among them Andy Thê-Anh and Dinh Bá. Because they design for a fairly affluent market, the clothes were smart and elegant. However, as well as clothes for clubbing and special occasions, there were clothes for school, exercise wear, and lingerie.

A lot of effort and planning goes into the show. Creative director Sachin Bhola has been involved for three years. He said an important element in the show’s success is the close relationship with local designers and stylists, who have been loyal and generous with their time. Avanti, the hair salon, closes its doors for the day to take care of the 31 models, both women and men. Dinhba, a professional designer, did the ads pro bono.

Samira Dossani, who, like Bhola, is a marketing major, worked on the fashion show for the first time this year. She said the organizing started back in late August. More than 30 student models were recruited and trained over the course of the school year. The only criterion for being a model is that the student has to fit the clothes that were donated for the show.

The participants get a lot out of the experience, Dossani said. “They get develop confidence, and get to know each other. They put in a lot of time running around the city to the manufacturers, trying on clothes, and rehearsing two or three hours every Sunday afternoon. They’re not modelling to validate their own image, but because they believe in the cause.”

Sally Cook, art therapist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and a Concordia graduate, spoke briefly to the audience before the models took the runway. She simply gave a few figures — how many children are seen every year at the hospital because of sexual abuse and eating disorders — to show how valuable the students’ support can be.

Vicki Braide, the president of CASA Cares, said afterwards that both of this year’s goals — increasing the professionalism of the production and increasing the funds raised — were achieved. “Obviously the committee is extremely pleased with the results, and most of us can’t wait to do it again next year.”